The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a decision to drop its proposal to remove drugs from protected class status under Medicare Part D. This means transplant recipients will continue to have access to all immunosuppressive drugs under their Medicare Part D plan. In a letter to Representative Henry Waxman, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner stated that the agency will not move forward this year with its January proposal to remove immunosuppressive medications, antidepressants and antipsychotics from protected class status. The letter states that the agency may revisit the issue in future years.
This is a wonderful win for the kidney community that has worked tirelessly to fight this CMS proposal. NKF’s government relations staff has met with White House policy advisors, the Deputy Principal Administrator of CMS, and Congressional office staff to educate them about why restricting access to immunosuppressive drugs would be harmful to patients. Thanks to the input of our transplant physician volunteers and the stories shared by many of you, we were able to make a convincing case as to why CMS should not move forward with its proposal. Key to our success was the support of many other patient advocacy organizations, transplant associations and coalition groups who helped schedule meetings with Congressional staff and Administration staff and who attended meetings side by side to ensure that the six protected classes of medications under Medicare Part D were preserved.
Thank you to all of you for helping us achieve this important goal. Our work is not over and we will continue to work with CMS to ensure that patients maintain this access to all immunosuppressive drugs under Medicare Part D in the future.